Apple's enhanced Siri will answer phone calls, transcribe voicemails in 2016 - report

Posted:
in iPhone edited August 2015
Apple is reportedly testing a service that will have its voice driven personal assistant, Siri, answer phone calls when a user is unavailable and then transcribe voicemails to text so that they can be quickly read.

Voicemail


Apple's so-called "iCloud Voicemail" feature is said to be in the works for a 2016 launch, according to Business Insider. When an iPhone owner is unavailable, Siri will answer the call and can share information, such as where the recipient is and why they can't take the call.

Employees at Apple are said to be testing the feature currently, though it isn't expected to launch until next year, presumably with an iOS 10 upgrade.

With an iCloud Voicemail service, Apple would bypass carrier voicemail altogether, offering its own alternative. When the first iPhone debuted in 2007, Apple's proprietary Visual Voicemail feature was one of the main selling points of the product.

AppleInsider first detailed Apple's concept for a smart call waiting system in 2012 through a patent filing. The invention described a system that would tell an incoming caller what the user is doing, and then translate their voicemail into text.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 36
    pmzpmz Posts: 3,433member
    Why can't it do this now? Pretty much every VOIP operator has a voice-to-text conversion for voicemail. There is nothing special about it. But it works. How is it that Apple can make this wait until 2016, and probably bill it as a major feature?

    Like everything else...its probably not "doing it" thats the problem....its "doing it for hundreds of millions of users all day everyday".

    EDIT: I'm only talking about the voice-to-text aspect. Not the rest of the far more advanced feature.
  • Reply 2 of 36
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 23,473member
    pmz wrote: »
    Why can't it do this now? Pretty much every VOIP operator has a voice-to-text conversion for voicemail. There is nothing special about it. But it works. How is it that Apple can make this wait until 2016, and probably bill it as a major feature?

    Like everything else...its probably not "doing it" thats the problem....its "doing it for hundreds of millions of users all day everyday".
    What will make Apple's version unique is telling the caller why he/she can't take the call at the moment. The current ones don't do that AFAIK.
  • Reply 3 of 36
    MacProMacPro Posts: 19,505member
    One step closer to the Knowledge Navigator video.

    "Your wife called. I didn't tell her you were lunching with your secretary but you'd better call her ASAP.'
  • Reply 4 of 36
    kiowavtkiowavt Posts: 88member
    "Why can't it do this now? Pretty much every VOIP operator has a voice-to-text conversion for voicemail. " Ummm, you do know that the iPhone takes real calls, not VOIP, and thus it's a little complicated to move away from a carrier phone connection to Siri? Unlike VOIP which has the advantage of already being web based. You are talking about VOIP, which few folks use but you do, and not answering normal phone calls, which is where the great bulk of the population lives by phone. Apples and oranges really. And thus I think it's great, where you think it's ho-hum.
  • Reply 5 of 36
    croprcropr Posts: 1,080member
    I would prefer that Siri first better support more languages. I get calls in English, French and Dutch. How will Siri cope with that, taking into account that its support for French is only moderate and the support for Dutch really sucks
  • Reply 6 of 36
    rogifanrogifan Posts: 10,669member
    sog35 wrote: »
    What other smartphone has this feature? thats what I thought.

    Doesn't Google Voice already do this?
  • Reply 7 of 36
    pmzpmz Posts: 3,433member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by sog35 View Post

     

     

    What other smartphone has this feature? thats what I thought.




    I asked a serious question, which is why can't they do this now. As others have pointed out, the difference between cellular calls/carrier voicemail and VOIP is likely the reason why there are walls in place.

  • Reply 8 of 36
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 33,407member
    gatorguy wrote: »
    What will make Apple's version unique is telling the caller why he/she can't take the call at the moment. The current ones don't do that AFAIK.

    That's right. As artificial intelligence improves, eventually we will all have the equivalent of a disembodied professional personal assistant working for us 24 hours a day.
  • Reply 9 of 36
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 33,407member
    One step closer to the Knowledge Navigator video.

    "Your wife called. I didn't tell her you were lunching with your secretary but you'd better call her ASAP.'

    "Your lawyer called and your wife and her lawyer have set a meeting for first thing tomorrow... Would you like to listen to Beats 1 radio?"
  • Reply 10 of 36
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 23,473member
    sog35 wrote: »
    What other smartphone has this feature? thats what I thought.
    Most Google Android smartphones? Figured you were aware of that.

    BTW, neural network processing is now the way to go. Apple will use network processing, just as Amazon and Google do. Google Voice only recently started using their neural processing to do so according to their blog post. Doing so greatly increases the accuracy. It used to be humorously inaccurate at times.
  • Reply 11 of 36
    inklinginkling Posts: 731member
    Marvelous! I love Google Voice, particularly the voice mail to text message feature. But it's a stand-alone service that requires my main phone number to be a GV number. That doesn't work well.

    I've long been frustrated that marketing-driven cell companies haven't integrated GV's features into their services. It would be a good selling point. But having Apple build those features into iOS would be even better. Lets hope these rumors prove true.

    -----

    Oh, and if anyone on the Siri team is reading this, why not add several age-adjusted children modes to Siri? In child mode, when told "Show me a kitty," it would show a picture of a kitty. That sort of thing. The current Siri is dully adult in how it responds.
  • Reply 12 of 36
    rogifan wrote: »
    Doesn't Google Voice already do this?

    Google Voice has been doing this for years. I had Google voice enabled on my phone solely for the voicemail transcription feature (it also texted you the transcription).
  • Reply 13 of 36
    That's right. As artificial intelligence improves, eventually we will all have the equivalent of a disembodied professional personal assistant working for us 24 hours a day.

    Or rather have a disembodied professional voice replace us completely.
  • Reply 14 of 36
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 23,473member
    inkling wrote: »
    Marvelous! I love Google Voice, particularly the voice mail to text message feature. But it's a stand-alone service that requires my main phone number to be a GV number. That doesn't work well.
    I don't have a specific "Google Voice" number for a MotoX, just my carrier-assigned one, but still get transcriptions of voicemails.
  • Reply 15 of 36
    The telcos might like this in one form, since they can free up server hard rive space but hate it if they charge for the service for existing clients who might op out of it.
  • Reply 16 of 36
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 23,473member
    sog35 wrote: »
    I don't want to use GoogleVoice.
    I wouldn't expect you would. Fair enough comment, it's your phone.
  • Reply 17 of 36

    The part I want most is the ability to have my voicemail available on all devices.  It's the one thing that's still stuck on just my phone.  If we can move away from carrier voicemail completely, that would solve a ton of problems for me.  Can't wait to see it!

  • Reply 18 of 36
    MacProMacPro Posts: 19,505member
    sog35 wrote: »
    I would not want to use any 3rd party App for my calls/voicemails.

    There are so many problems using a 3rd party app. It needs to be built into the phone from the start.  

    If it was adobe or any other developer I still would not use it.

    That is what I meant when I said no phone does this out of the box.  With GoogleVoice you need to go through a whole setup process.

    Exactly. Plus you can't access without signing in. I often use Siri when driving which would not be possible with a 3rd party system even if I wanted to be tracked and spammed. ;).
  • Reply 19 of 36
    MacProMacPro Posts: 19,505member
    The part I want most is the ability to have my voicemail available on all devices.  It's the one thing that's still stuck on just my phone.  If we can move away from carrier voicemail completely, that would solve a ton of problems for me.  Can't wait to see it!

    Oh I so agree with that. It's like being tied to the 1990s. Like cable TV interfaces!
  • Reply 20 of 36
    zoetmbzoetmb Posts: 2,634member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post





    That's right. As artificial intelligence improves, eventually we will all have the equivalent of a disembodied professional personal assistant working for us 24 hours a day.

    And making even more mistakes than a minimum wage worker.

     

    Siri's got a long way to go.  I would have thought there would have been vast and substantive improvements by now.   

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